[ad] The service leader for Cloud is now in Australia. Secure, reliable cloud and managed hosting all backed by 24x7x365 Fanatical Support. Create your free account now.
Buy an Seagate Business Storage NAS for your chance to win a holiday
[ad] Purchase a selected Seagate Business Storage NAS to receive a $20 cash-back AND go into the draw to win a $1,000 Flight Centre voucher so you can holiday in the destination of your choice. T&Cs apply.
Great articles on other sites
- IBM accuses Qld govt of trying to ‘rewrite history’
- Newlease undergoes reverse takeover to score ASX listing
- Australia Post loses battle | The Australian
- Start-ups leap at Telstra's accelerator
- Labor won't hand over NBN advice to Turnbull
- Adelaide Uni on hiring blitz for tech transformation
- Human Services to cut 56 IT jobs
- Turnbull to release NBN review next week
- Canberra blitzes states with NBN take-up rates
- War on whistleblowers from Abbott, Turnbull as ICJ case arrives
How mobile and social media affect your Customer Experience strategy
[ad] How will the adoption of mobile devices and social media affect your Customer Experience strategy? Are you reaching your organisation's customers through these touch points? Click here to download a whitepaper by Fifth Quadrant examining consumer and business attitudes to these new contact channels.
50 things top IT pros need to know
[ad] This 18 page TechRepublic whitepaper explores 10 things you should know to become an epic IT manager, 40 other essential tips to advance your IT career and practical guidance for starting an IT consulting business. Click here to access the whitepaper.
Featured, News - Written by Renai LeMay on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 23:30 - 54 Comments
Wikileaks cable outs secret iiTrial background
news A document published by Wikileaks appearing to be a US diplomatic cable appears to have revealed much of the previously hidden background behind the iiNet/AFACT court case, including the Motion Picture Association of America’s prime mover role and US Embassy fears the trial could become portrayed as “giant American bullies versus little Aussie battlers”.
The case, which is expected to shortly be escalated to the High Court following a second appeal, has since November 2008 seen a local organisation known as the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) squaring off against local ISP iiNet, over alleged copyright infringement over file-sharing networks like BitTorrent by iiNet’s customers.
AFACT is known to represent a number of US-based movie studios in the case, including Walt Disney Pictures, for example, as well as industry associations such as the Motion Picture Association of America and local companies such as the Seven Network.
However, this week Wikileaks published what appeared to be a leaked cable sent from the US Embassy in Canberra (under the name of then-US Ambassador Robert McCallum) to a number of US Government diplomatic branches on 30 November 2008, revealing what appeared to be further details of the case. The cable, seen by Delimiter, claims that although the case against iiNet was filed by a number of local and US content owners and distributors, the prime mover behind it was the MPAA, which has been active in copyright enforcement in the US.
The relative governments which have suffered leaks under the Wikileaks case have repeatedly declined to comment on the substance of the cables leaked over the past year, although they are believed to be genuine. AFACT and iiNet have been contacted tonight for a response to the leaked cable.
An executive from the MPAA, the cable claimed, had briefed the US Ambassador on the matter, confirming it was the mover behind the case, with AFACT essentially functioning as a sub-contractor to the MPAA in the matter and the MPAA having no formal presence in Australia. However, the cable claimed that the MPAA would prefer its role not be made public.
“AFACT and MPAA worked hard to get Village Roadshow and the Seven Network to agree to be the public Australian faces on the case to make it clear there are Australian equities at stake, and this isn’t just Hollywood “bullying some poor little Australian ISP,” the cable quoted the US Embassy as writing.
iiNet, the cable claimed, had been targeted because the ISP was “big enough to be important”, as the third-largest ISP in Australia. The MPAA didn’t go after Telstra, the cable claimed, because the telco was “the big guns” and had “the financial resources and demonstrated willingness to fight hard and dirty, in court and out”. In addition, iiNet users had a particularly high copyright violation rate, the cable claimed, and its management had been “consistently unhelpful on copyright infringements”.
The cable also claims that the MPAA believed its case against iiNet to be very strong, as the organisation had delivered a significant chunk of evidence to the ISP revealing copyright violations on the part of its users. However, the ISP did “nothing” to address the issue.
Consequently, to prosecute the case, according to the document, AFACT hired “Australia’s top copyright lawyer” from specialist IP/IT law firm Gilbert & Tobin — a lawyer with experience in previous copyright infringement cases in Australia.
And Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was also consulted, according to the document, with the MPAA speaking with the Labor Senator a few months before the case. At the time, Conroy stated that he had “other priorities” such as the National Broadband Network policy. The MPAA, according to the cable, did not see any role for the US Embassy in that context at that time, but wanted to keep it informed of developments.
In addition, according to the cable, the MPAA saw the iiNet case as potentially “not necessarily their final legal move” in Australia with respect to the issue of online copyright infringement. Although the iiNet case has not yet been concluded in the High Court, AFACT has this year begun again reaching out to Australian ISPs to attempt a dialogue on the issue of copyright infringement.
The US Embassy, according to the document, noted that Australia had “very high rates of illegal movie and television show downloads”, in part because of “the sometimes long gaps between their release in the US and their arrival in Australian theaters or on local television”. The Australian legal action could be followed up by similar moves in other Commonwealth countries, according to the cable.
The US Embassy, according to the document, concluded its report on the issue by noting it would watch the case closely — both for its intellectual property rights implications, as well as “to see whether or not the “AFACT vs the local ISP” featured attraction spawns a “giant American bullies vs little Aussie battlers” sequel”.
If the details in the cable are correct, and bear in the mind that they represent the US Ambassador’s interpretation of what the cable says he was told by the MPAA, they would certainly be consistent with many of the guesses which observers of the iiNet versus AFACT case have already made.
It seems very likely — with its key role in this area in the US — that it is indeed the MPAA that is the prime mover behind AFACT, and the trial itself, and that Telstra and SingTel-backed Optus were targets too big for the organisation to go after in Australia. Secondly, it is true that AFACT has been relatively confident of its case against iiNet all the way throughout the trial in Australia’s Federal Court — and still remains quite confident going into its High Court appeal.
It remains true, of course, that there are definitely two sides to the iiTrial. iiNet has a very valid point with respect to its right to not be held accountable for the actions of its users — as the builders of a road would not be held responsible for stolen goods shipped on that road. However, AFACT also has a point — under current copyright law it is illegal to simply download movies via BitTorrent, and targeting ISPs like iiNet would appear to be one effective way to attempt to have that law enforced.
However, there is also the court of public opinion — the public which consumes the content which the studios own and companies like the Seven Network distribute in Australia.
I would bet that the publication of this cable will not aid the case of AFACT and the MPAA in wooing that public opinion. As the cable notes, one of the underlying issues beneath copyright infringement in Australia remains the reluctance by some parties to release their content locally at the same time as the US. I suspect that if that issue was resolved, and online distribution centres such as Hulu extended to Australia, much of the online copyright infringement problem would disappear.
iiNet, and other ISPs, are certainly currently attempting to push the film and TV studios down this path with the release of IPTV offerings.
Image credit: Delimiter
Latest Delimiter 2.0 articles (subscriber content)
|Politicians from Australia’s major parties need to stop issuing ludicrous blanket pardons for the intelligence community’s ongoing misdemeanours and start applying a basic modicum of transparency and accountability to this important national security function.|
|The independent pro-fibre National Broadband Network movement is doing a far better job of promoting Labor’s Fibre to the Premises-based NBN policy than Labor itself. When is Labor going to wake from its slumber and start supporting this scrappy but energetic grassroots network of activists?|
|Ziggy Switkowski's first substantial public appearance since being appointed NBN Co chief executive has starkly demonstrated just how different he is from his predecessor, Mike Quigley, and just how strictly he will adhere to the guidelines which his patron, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has set for him.|
|Australian technology companies have been virtually absent from the the nation’s public stockmarket over the past decade as the stigma of the dot com bust took its toll on investor confidence. But a clutch of new listings planned for the closing months of 2013 shows renewed interest in the sector and that local entrepreneurs are smelling money in the air once again.|
|NBN Co’s Strategic Review process gives the company an unmissable opportunity to re-evaluate the early decision to deploy its FTTP network primarily through Telstra’s underground ducts. The company and its new Coalition masters must now seriously consider deploying more fibre aerially on power poles in an effort to speed up its rollout substantially.|
|That moment which many Australian technologists fervently hoped for but never expected to see has come to pass: Simon Hackett has been appointed to the board of the National Broadband Network Company. But what questions should the Internode founder be asking NBN Co’s executive management team? Here’s five ideas to start with.|
|The rapid replacement of respected NBN Co chief operating officer Ralph Steffens with a Telstra executive who appears less experienced with fibre rollouts but better politically connected represents a key signal that NBN Co’s senior executive hiring process has now become completely politicised and is no longer independent from the Federal Government.|
Enterprise IT, Featured, News - Dec 9, 2013 11:35 - 0 Comments
More In Enterprise IT
- Harbour City Ferries goes Microsoft across the board
- Payroll disaster: Queensland sues IBM
- End of an era: Oracle Australia’s ‘safe hands’ leaves
- Qld launches whole of government IaaS panel
- Defence finally allows staff iPhones, iPads
News, Telecommunications - Dec 9, 2013 17:23 - 28 Comments
More In Telecommunications
- NBN Co still has 1Gbps on way
- Delimiter appeals Turnbull Blue Book censorship
- Final closure: TPG buys AAPT for $450m
- NBN FTTN analysis “devastating” for Coalition
- NBN Co internal FTTN analysis: Turnbull refuses to retract inaccurate claim
Industry, News, Startups - Dec 9, 2013 15:40 - 4 Comments
More In Industry
- The Australian IT sector needs a stronger voice
- Xbox One goes off with a bang … but will the PS4 launch eclipse it?
- It’s not just Freelancer: Aussie tech IPOs are back in general
- Freelancer’s IPO: A billion reasons to care
- Australian retailers online: Late to the party and much to do
Blog, Digital Rights, Gadgets - Dec 9, 2013 11:15 - 18 Comments
More In Digital Rights
- Censored: Appeal for AG’s Blue Book fails
- Senate to force TPP publication
- Global privacy group files formal ASD complaint
- Labor open to surveillance discussion
- Snowden an “American traitor”, says Australia’s Attorney-General